MP Charlie Angus on Indigenous equality, NDP leadership
Young people get ‘what reconciliation means in a way that politicians don’t’
Young people understand the issues facing Canada's Indigenous communities and want to be part of the change, Timmins-James Bay MP Charlie Angus says.
The politician is in Waterloo region this week talking to students from elementary school to university about Indigenous equality and the issues he raises in his book, Children of the Broken Treaty: Canada's Lost Promise and One Girl's Dream.
- AUDIO: MP Charlie Angus on Indigenous issues, possible NDP leadership run
- Indigenous leaders give Trudeau government failing grade on delivering promises
- Health Canada having trouble finding First Nations kids to help because of 'broken' system
He received letters from students at Kitchener's Queensmount Public School. One little girl named Madeline thanked him for "inspiring many children and adults to stop being just bystanders and take action with the Attawapiskat school crisis. You helped get Canadians to protest, donate and stand up for the rights of our children."
I am excited to speak with students at Queensmount Public School Waterloo They wrote beautiful letters about <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Shannensdream?src=hash">#Shannensdream</a> Check this one <a href="https://t.co/iyO5O0ojDI">pic.twitter.com/iyO5O0ojDI</a>—@CharlieAngusNDP
"I was so blown away by those letters and I wanted to go meet with them and talk with them," Angus told Craig Norris, host of The Morning Edition, during an interview Thursday.
"That's really, to me, what's been a powerful movement in Canada – how young people, they get this issue, they get the issue of what reconciliation means in a way that politicians don't."
'Communities full of drive and vigour'
As a white man, Angus said he has to balance advocating for the Indigenous communities in his riding without going too far.
His job is to listen to concerns, then speak out about injustice from federal and provincial governments.
- 'You're seeing how callous they are': Ottawa spent a fraction of promised money on First Nations health
- Wapekeka First Nation asked for suicide-prevention funds months before deaths of 2 girls
"On the issues of cultural identity, on the issues of where the indigenous communities are going, I can participate, but I am not that voice," he said.
What is important for him is to remind Canadians the people living in these communities have much to offer the country.
"These are not hopeless communities. These are communities full of drive and vigour and young people who will transform the world," he said.
The students at Queensmount Public School in Kitchener are committed to First Nation child equity. They support <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/shannensdream?src=hash">#shannensdream</a> <a href="https://t.co/3pq1OtjJ0u">pic.twitter.com/3pq1OtjJ0u</a>—@CharlieAngusNDP
Mulling leadership bid
The NDP will be choosing a new leader by this October, with the race officially set to begin July 2.
"We are in a really important time in our history," Angus said.
"We really need a clear, coherent, moral voice that's not afraid to stand up for what a vision of a better Canada looks like."
So, is Charlie Angus that voice?
He said he wants to hear from people and he's considering his options, but nothing is certain yet.
"If I have a mandate to move forward, I'll do it," Angus said. "I would say, stay tuned."
Listen to the whole interview: